|Who would even want to compete with Tebow? (Getty Images)|
On Monday, John Elway said at his season-ending press conference that Tim Tebow "earned the right" to go into the Broncos 2012 training camp as the starter. He also said that the Broncos will "obviously be in the market" for more quarterbacks.
But here's my question: Who wants to come to Denver and compete with Tebow?
That's not to say it's impossible to beat Tebow out for a starter's role, of course. It's not -- Kyle Orton did it in 2010. And Elway believes someone will be willing to compete against Tebow. Or at least that if there isn't anyone willing to do so, then he shouldn't be in Broncos camp.
"If he’s afraid to come in and compete for that job, maybe he’s not the right guy," Elway said Monday.
Here's the problem though: the deck is absolutely stacked against any of the available free agents that could come in and reasonably and/or rationally be considered a starter for Denver.
For starters, the would-be competitor has to be willing to consent to life as a backup. Even though they will be technically be involved in a competition, whoever signs in Denver is going head-to-head with a quarterback who just won a division title.
That quarterback happens to be a fan favorite, and therein lies the biggest problem: the fans.
Elway and John Fox can preach about ignoring what their constituents say all they want. The fact is that after relegating Tebow to third string, a 1-4 start and an enormous fan outcry (including the purchase of billboards instructing Fox how to do his job) prompted them bring in Tebow and give him run as a starter.
How'd that run work out for Orton? Not well -- he was routinely booed and generally reviled by Broncos fans. That he played poorly isn't even beside the point. It is the point, especially if you're the guy looking to compete with Tebow in 2012.
Win the job out of training camp because you play the quarterback position better than Tebow? Welcome to the shortest leash of your life, not to mention the most unfriendly homefield circumstances in NFL history. No one wants that, especially if it comes after the success.
And that's without pointing out how hard it'll be for Denver to even get someone decent into camp: the list of free-agent quarterbacks this offseason is abysmal at best.
Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell and Orton are the headliners. Maybe someone beatdown and desperate like Chad Henne or Kyle Boller makes sense, but those guys have had their chance and they weren't as effective as Tebow, on teams with better weapons.
The Broncos aren't within range of grabbing an elite quarterback prospect; if they could trade up to grab Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III or even Ryan Tannenhill, it'd be a clear indication they're moving away from Tebow.
They're not doing that. No one thinks they are anyway.
Although the way that Elway and John Fox continually backpeddle, use vague language and strive not to support Tebow might lead some observers to believe they're actively rooting against him.
Whatever, if they want him to fail that's fine. Whether or not Tim Tebow succeeds has no bearing on the Broncos ability to land another viable quarterback for 2011. It's just not going to happen.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.